Have you heard of Malta? I’m guessing not. If you have, I’m impressed. I didn’t before I booked a flight there last May. It’s a small island in the Mediterranean Sea, only 122 square miles. Turns out, Malta is a favorite tourist destination for many Europeans. If you are looking for a warm, friendly, and welcoming destination, put Malta on your list.
Malta is actually made up of three small islands off the coast of Sicily: Malta, Gozo, and Comino. All three islands are spectacularly unique. Here’s what the islands are all about:
- Malta: This is the largest island and is the cultural, commercial, and administrative center of the country. You will most likely be staying on Malta and spending majority of your time here.
- Gozo: The second largest island of Malta is characterized by fishing, tourism, crafts, and agriculture.
- Comino: As the smallest island, Comino is pretty quiet and only has one hotel. This island is the spot to snorkle, dive, windsurf and lounge on the beach.
How to Get Around
While exploring Malta, make sure to plan enough time for transportation and be prepared to take long bus rides. Malta is so densely populated and it’s many of its streets weren’t exactly designed with buses in mind. The bus is the best way to get around Malta, so make sure you buy a bus pass! Talk to your hostel about how to go about doing that, usually you can buy them on the bus. Also, since Malta used to be British territory, the cars drive on the opposite side of the street (so be aware of that). Also, bring a UK CONVERTER. Don’t be like me and forget yours.
What to See
Malta has it all: beaches, churches, nature, history, shopping. Ask the locals what to do! They are super friendly and know the island best. These are some of the places I saw while exploring the islands.
St. Julian’s is where I stayed and I loved it! It a old fishing village that is now a popular vacation spot budding with nightlife, restuarants, bars, and clubs. It sits right in the harbor, so it is a good place to hang out at night. Many restaurants offer dining right on the water! Other than restaurants, I didn’t do much in St. Julian’s, but I loved having it as my home base.
Valleta is the smallest capital city in Europe and a world heritage site. There is so much history to be found in this small city. Just take some time to wander from the bus stop to the coast and stop in shops, read about the history, and take it all in. The streets of Valleta can get busy, so take some of the side streets and look at the architecture of the houses.
From what I heard, this is the best beach in Malta. Malta isn’t known for a lot of sandy beaches, but if you need a beach day take the bus north to the very top of the island of Malta. It’s about an hour bus ride from St. Julian’s!
Admittedly, I didn’t make it to the Blue Grotto, but it was recommended to me several times. It is located on the southern coast of the island of Malta. It is a series of caverns that combines sunlight and the surrounding caves to result in a very light blue color. It is best to go earlier in the morning and when the water is calm! You will have to pay a service to take you out here.
Blue Lagoon at Comino: If you do only one thing in Malta, this should be it. The crystal blue waters are a must see and good for a day of relaxation and sunbathing. There are a couple ways to get here. One – you can take a ferry. Or two – (the more enjoyable option) there are several companies that offer day long excursions on “party” boats to the island. I did the Captain Morgan cruise which was wonderful. It included a great lunch, fruit trays, drinks, snorkeling gear, guides, and a place to sunbathe. They will drop you off at the Blue Lagoon for a couple hours and you are free to do as you please. It’s definitely the best thing I did in Malta and worth the money!
Where to Stay
Boho Hostel: There is only one place I will recommend for backpackers to stay in Malta, because this place is truly amazing. Go to Malta just for this! Boho Hostel is a small hostel near St. Julian’s that is PERFECTION. It is owned and run by Penny, the sweetest and most down-to-earth lady you will ever meet. She is so welcoming and was a mom figure to me. I can’t rave enough about this place. She also cooks breakfast for you every morning – and it’s delicious!!
Malta will be nothing like you expected, but in a good way. It’s surprising and exciting and nearly everyone speaks English and is super friendly. Hop on a quick Ryan air flight and spend some time relaxing and exploring in Malta. Say hi to Penny at Boho for me!